Hello my friends, and Happy Friday. I hope your week's been a good one!
So I've decided to start a new blogging tradition here (or maybe it already exists and I'm just late to the party) called "Full Disclosure Friday." My idea is this - every once in a while, on the occasional Friday, I will share an "inconvenient truth" of some kind, in order to shed a little light on how things sometimes go around here. Because I may be a great one for sharing plans, but I think it may be just as important (if not more so) to share the times when my plans don't quite come to fruition.
Case in point ...
I shared the above picture on Instagram today. This is me (and my polka dot slippers) in the living room very early the other morning, staring down at the usual assortment of things one might find on our rug: Legos, books, pine needles leftover from Christmas ... plus, a paper chain project gone horribly awry.
Yes, this is what has come of our Lenten paper chain, the one I so thoroughly described last month.
Now, I have a post in me somewhere (and I'll do my best to find it) about what happens when your thoughtfully arranged plans go awry - and a project you lovingly assembled for your children is met with disinterest at best ... and defiance at worst. 😑
Because, this pretty paper chain? Well, safe to say it wasn't quite the hit I hoped for with our special needs son. As you see here, it's no longer hanging on the kitchen door as a meaningful visual, secured to the bottom of a plain paper cross - but instead laying here scattered and squashed on the living room floor.
And there I was thinking it was JUST the thing for Earlybird this year. 🙄
Plans are fun and easy to make, it's keeping them that can be tricky. Especially when you're working with children ... and most especially when one of your children has special needs. (At least, in my experience.)
Back when I made my initial Lenten plan, what I didn't anticipate was that the paper chain project would really and truly BUG my 16 year old, autistic son - to the point where it was getting plucked at and pushed around so much it was more of a pain than anything. Getting caught in the door, the links all dusty and disorganized ...
Here I was I trying to create an atmosphere of peaceful preparation - but instead I made my son feel anxious and stressed. And let's not even begin to discuss the reaction he had to dipping his fingers into the ink pad for the cross - THAT was a disaster from the get-go.
So why did this happen? What about this project distressed him?
Well, as with so many things with Earlybird ... we just don't know, because he's not always a predictable kid. What works with EB once (and paper chains have been a real hit in the past) doesn't necessarily work for him again.
And just like that, when I think I'm really rocking the whole special needs parenting thing, I get a swift reminder not to take things for granted ... and to always keep our plans fluid!
So for now we're just keeping things calm around here, and focusing on the concepts of patience and observation. (And best behavior.) Filling low-key days with low-pressure activities that appeal to our son - but don't agitate. As we like to say in our family, some weeks are for pushing a little, and others are for just keeping afloat ...
Our Lent is looking like the latter to me.
Now, I know I'm not alone in this. I am sure many of you have had things like this happen that prove just how tricky it can be to read our kids (whatever their needs) and meet them where they are (not where we envision them to be).
So what do we do when those carefully crafted plans don't click as well as we'd hoped? How do we handle the disappointment and even perhaps, the dismay?
Well, first we gracefully admit defeat (on social media, natch), and shelve those “perfect” plans for another day. Then, we pour ourselves a big cup of coffee (or glass of wine as the case may be), tune into our inner GPS and do our best to "recalculate" ... 🤔
Because if the season of Lent teaches us anything, it's that we must always hold onto Hope.
Thank you, my friends, for listening. I know this wasn't my "usual" post, but it felt like something I needed to share. As always, I thank you for joining me here and if you too are parenting a challenging child, I'd love to hear from you - please know I am with you! And if it helps, we could talk more about it. :)
Keep on shining, Mamas! And don't forget: we light the way for our families, but we must kindle our own little flames first!
Take care, everyone ...
I'll see you here again very soon!